Monthly Archives: November 2011

These People Are A-OK: Lisa Brown

Lisa and I met on a boat. Too saccharine to be true, right? What actually happened was she had won tickets to see Greg Sczebel on a boat with her sister/friends and I was there filming our first A-OK Rooftop Sessions with Greg. Lisa and I have very similar attitudes, and by that I mean we’re loud. It didn’t take long for us to meet each other and strike-up a witty rapport. I explained A-OKs mission to showcase all the positive, creative energy and culture in the region and she dug it. Cut to a few months later when I got a call from Lisa. She finally told me what she does and it seemed like a perfect fit for the A-OK. So ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to Lisa ‘Expressionate’ Brown.

What do you do here Lisa?
I am primarily a silversmith, I create on-site which is great.  I have my studio in my shop so people can come in and pick what they’d like, I can alter it, I can do repairs and of course I sell my things as well. It’s wonderful to be able to sell it and make it in the same place, it’s something I’ve wanted for a long time.

So what brought you to this particular line of work?
I’ve made jewelry most of my life, right from the time I got out of high school I figured it was a good way to make some money in the summer. Then in ’93 in a random meeting with someone they asked me, “did you know in Kelowna you can sell jewelry right on the beach?” I thought that job was made for me so I moved to Kelowna from Ontario. Got in a van, drove out west. The engine blew up in the Okanagan, on Halloween night, on Westside Road, as the sun was going down.

That sounds like the beginning of a teen slasher flick.
I thought, “Hmmm… apparently I’m supposed to live here.” So I stayed. And I did that for 15 years, I worked out of City Park, re-wrote the program with the City, got people on board, got it a little more functional.

So it’s safe to say this is a passion for you.

Where can fine folks find your work?
Right now I’m in the Penticton Art Gallery, the Vernon Art Gallery, but primarily I’m here, on-site. In my very first store. I find my biggest challenge right now actually, getting my old clientele to even know where I am. This happened so quickly, like it just it BAM! “Do you want a studio shop?” “Uhhhhhh, ok.” Now I’m a year in and there’s still people looking for me.

Well, you can find Lisa at 2170 Harvey Avenue inside the Ramada Hotel Lobby in Kelowna. Find out more on her Facebook page.

These People Are A-OK: Kelly Shepherd

I have had the pleasure of working with Kelly Shepherd time and again in the Okanagan for multiple events. It’s a small-ish region, so it’s not unusual to cross paths with other like-minded individuals in the area. We had a few free minutes to sit down and chat a bit about what she does.

So what DO you do?
I deal mostly as an entertainment and production director for different events.

Where in the Okanagan do you do these events?
I work at Prospera Place, the Kelowna Community Theatre (KCT), Kelowna City Park.

What kind of events do you put on?
I work for any event. When I get work at Prospera Place it can be anything from Michael Bublé to Tiësto shows we’ll produce ourselves. So really kind of a mixed bag at that venue, and same with the KCT. When there are events we’re putting on we do mostly entertainment and sport and music geared towards the 15-25 age demographic.

What is it about the event industry that draws you to it. Why is it your passion?
It started as an up and coming singer/songwriter and I wanted to get closer to the stage. I was working at Flashback’s and seeing a lot of bands like Nickelback and Jim Cuddy and saw a way to get to the stage from the inside out, which was through production. So I started roading at Prospera Place, and pushing boxes and seeing how everyone else set up their stages and from there I got head-hunted and worked for SW Audio which gave me a lot of experience with the Parks Alive! program. Then I went to school for audio engineering so it’s nice to have a bit of a technical background, but it all kinda started when I was playing music by myself and it’s a really competitive market and I wanted to get closer to some of the bigger stages.

That was a much more well-rounded history than I was even expecting. What can we look forward to seeing from you in the next year?
Well, Center of Gravity is obviously our biggest project. It’s 7 Pro sports, 3 stages and 3 days with over 24,000 people in those days so it takes a bit to put together. I also do little events like FlowRider competitions at H2O with my not-for-profit and then there’s also a partnership with my neighbor where we do this downhill skateboarding event at Skylands. That’s one of the coolest events, six skateboarders in full leather, full helmets racing down Wilden [Road], ripping around these corners and doing big power-slides with hay bales lining the areas that they might crash or wipe out at. It’s just really high-adrenaline and really, really cool to see. I hopefully will do something at Big White this year, hopefully as well… and just building on our current projects.

Awesome. Speaking of awkward segues, what’s the most Awesome thing about the Okanagan?
Oh! There’s some great outdoors venues, I think that we have a lot to offer. Even when I’m driving around high-profile artists performing at Prospera Place I always have people commenting on how beautiful it is with the lake and the mountains and we get a lot of sun. I couldn’t even count how many positive remarks I’ve had from some really large entertainment groups coming through on just how beautiful it is or how beautiful the people are here. The cool thing about Kelowna is it’s kinda like a puddle and when you’re making splashes its a bit more like a wave. If we were all in Vancouver, which is a bit more of an ocean, we’d be competing with a lot more promoters and event producers, people doing the same things we’re doing. Who knows, maybe we’d do well and maybe it would be more challenging, but we’re kind of building the scene here which is kind of nice. I was born and raised here and it’s nice to see the area evolving.

Focus Friday: Heaven Above

heaven above

Our valley’s trees are putting on their annual show these days, adding splashes of vivid colour to the landscape. Lisa’s shot captures a  sense of wonder as we gaze up at the leaves and sky. Don’t forget to take a walk along your nearest creek this week.

Heaven Above by Lisa

A-OK DJ Mixtape: JPod’s “Grass and Gospel”

One of Pop Okanagan’s local feature DJs, JPod mixes up this month’s A-OK DJ Mixtape. Grass and Gospel is a unique and soul-stirring selection of JPod remixes inspired by bluegrass and gospel songs blended with his big beats and heavy bass. Reminiscing in faith-inspired music of the past has never been more fun.

Grass & Gospel track listing

  1. Whites – Sunny Side (JPod Remix)
  2. Ben Harper & The Blind Boys – Take My Hand (JPod Remix)
  3. Tanya Tucker – Delta Dawn (JPod Remix)
  4. Sounds Of Blackness – Hold On (JPod Remix)
  5. The Five Blind Boys Of Alabama – Deep River (JPod Remix)
  6. Dixie Hummingbirds – Christian’S Automobile (JPod Remix)
  7. Lonnie Young, Ed Young & Lonnie Young Jr – Oree (JPod Interlude)
  8. Harry Mclinton – Big Rock Candy Mountain (JPod Remix)
  9. The Fairfield Four – Lonesome Valley (JPod Remix)
  10. Alison Krauss – Fly Away (JPod Remix)
  11. Jessie Pratcher, Mattie Garner & Mary Gardner – Green Sally Up (JPod Remix)
  12. Estil C Ball & Lacey Richardson – Little Longer (JPod Remix)
  13. Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers – Rock Of Ages (JPod Remix)
  14. Vera Hall – Trouble So Hard (JPod Remix)

Stay connected: (Free downloads & buy releases)
JPod’s Website

Grass & Gospel on SoundCloud

Catch JPod with Krafty Kuts live at Footwerk at Sapphire Nightclub Nov 24/11.


Buffaloswans live at Streaming Cafe

In the tradition of the Traveling Wilburys and other super-groups (or fun-groups or project-groups), BuffaloSwans showcases a number of individual artists who decided to come together as a band.

CBC’s Jon Siddall describes them this way: “Buffaloswans make music you feel you always knew, like a beautiful old friend you keep meeting for the first time.” That’s a great quote; it gives one the sense that sitting in a Buffaloswans gig for the first time would be a truly enjoyable experience, with none of the mind-numbing sensations that can come from an evening of never-before-heard music.

Indie engineer and producer Scott Bell is the hub around which Buffaloswans have formed. As a producer, Bell had contributed in one fashion or another to projects by most of the folks who now make up the band, so when he started feeling like he wanted to get out from behind the console and make a bit of his own music, these were the people he naturally invited to be involved. That recording project from 2006 gradually morphed into a gigging band, and Buffaloswans became a fixture on the Vancouver scene. Joining Bell in the official Buffaloswans line-up these days is James Lamb on lead guitar, Stephan Mihajlovich on percussion, Steph’s sister Jobi Mihajlovich on keys and BGVs, and James Green on bass.

Yes, some of those names are familiar to long-time Streaming Cafe fans. James Lamb has been with us before, both as a solo artist and as a supporting cast member for other artists. And James Green – well, the name might be known, but we want to assure you that this is not the James Green who is running for mayor of Vancouver as an indie candidate in this month’s municipal elections.

The music of the Buffaloswans is natural and straightforward. The instrumental/vocal arrangements (and use of reverb) are strongly evocative of CSNY, Roy Orbison and other artists of their era; the earlier reference to the Traveling Wilburys is not so far off the mark. As they say on their reverbnation page, the Buffaloswans sound can be found “frolicking somewhere between the dusty vintage past and the psychedelic rafters of the future”.

October marked the release of the band’s second album, The Body Electric, following their self-titled debut album (i.e. Buffaloswans) from 2007. A lot of bands don’t even exist for that long, so to have an album that took a year to record coming out four years after their first album shows that there is a good deal of stick-to-itiveness in Buffaloswans. And yes, that’s right: The Body Electric took a year to record, with the final pieces of the puzzle being trombone, fluglehorn, french horn, saxophone, bass clarinet and cello, all tracked in the first week of May at Ogre Studios this last spring. The album itself was mixed later that same month, wrapping up a year of production work, and all of those ingredients finally saw the light of day (in public, anyway) just last month.

And now they’ve taken it all on the road. Fresh on the tail-end of a romp through southeastern BC, Buffaloswans will be gracing the stage of Streaming Café on Saturday, November 5th at 7:00 p.m. (596 Leon Ave Kelowna). If you’ve managed to read this blurb before Saturday, then c’mon out and check them out in person! If you can’t make it down to the Café, or if you’re reading this after the fact, then tune in to the Buffaloswans on our website, either live on November 5th, or via post-show videos on the bands SC performance page.

The Okanagan Story book launch

The Kelowna Story Book Launch

The Kelowna Story is a comprehensive, full-length history of the largest metropolitan centre outside BC’s Lower Mainland, a labour of love by a leading local historian whose family roots have been entwined with Kelowna’s for five generations. It embraces the full sweep of central Okanagan history, starting with the days of the S-Ookanhkchinx, who enjoyed a largely peaceful existence along the shores of the lakes and rivers before the earliest explorers came to trade, followed by Father Pandosy and his Okanagan Mission in 1859. It was the mission that attracted Kelowna’s first homesteaders, soon followed by cattle ranchers and orchardists, and much later by the empire-builders like the Bennett family who paved the way for today’s budding metropolis.

Author Sharron J. Simpson believes “history is best told through the stories of ordinary people,” while allowing today’s readers may not think it ‘ordinary’ to walk over mountain ranges to collect mail, or consider it ‘ordinary’ to climb into a narrow irrigation pipe to scrape the rust off the inside as it runs up and down the hillsides, or to row freight from one end of Okanagan Lake to the other. “In their time,” she writes, “those who did extraordinary things were simply doing what needed to be done to get ahead. Their stories are fascinating and tell of the remarkable investment early settlers made in this community.”

Simpson tells the story of her hometown with an attention to detail and a passion for narrative that bespeaks her own considerable talent and deep commitment. This excellent history has been a long time coming but, all will agree, well worth waiting for.

Historian and former city councillor Sharron J. Simpson is a passionate advocate for preserving community and family stories. Simpson has published numerous articles and local histories, including Kelowna General Hospital: The First 100 Years, 1908-2008 and Boards, Boxes and Bins: Stanley M. Simpson and the Okanagan Lumber Industry.

“Seeds in the Wind” Book Launch Party

The Okanagan’s newest book publisher, Artistic Warrior is launching the company’s first title Seeds in the Wind.  To introduce the book to as many people as possible the launch party is Friday, November 18, 7 pm to 9 pm at the Royal Anne Hotel on Bernard Ave. in Kelowna. There will be plenty of appies and wine from Vibrant Vines and beer and cider from Tree Brewing. Your ticket includes three healthy (5 oz) tastings from the selection of fabulous Kelowna beverages.

Author Teresa Johnston (Yang May) tells her story of being part of an immigrant family in the 1970’s and her experiences with racism.  Seeds in the Wind recounts Teresa’s experience of overcoming the difficulties she faced as a child and the inspiring teaching career she devoted herself to, teaching children to accept the differences in others.  The book is geared toward children, but is also a great read for adults.

Teresa Johnston, Author and Founder of The Fairy Godmothers


In addition to being an author, Teresa is a co-founder of My Fairy Godmothers organization. Its mission is to help children with broken hearts; children who’ve suffered the loss of their parent(s) through death, divorce or other tragedy or who are battling their own chronic disease. Teresa and her fellow Fairy Godmothers fulfill a small wish for these children to help put a smile back on their faces.

To support My Fairy Godmothers, the book launch is also a fundraiser with a great line-up of silent auction items, a draw for a brilliant weekend at Sparkling Hill and book sales.

Tickets to the launch are on sale now at the Royal Anne Hotel, Booster Juice on KLO in Kelowna and online at

On a side note, aspiring Okanagan authors with a great story to tell – Artistic Warrior is looking for another author for their upcoming publishing line-up.  A rep from the company will be on hand at the launch.

Spotted! Battle of the Ages

The Following

Was Spotted


While filming our A-OK Rooftop Sessions video with Windmills last weekend, I spotted this piece of work on (I wanna say) the 3rd floor of the Parkade in Vernon. Known for it’s historical murals, this chunk of history won’t be on any of the local maps.